Today, almost all aspects of modern life involve some form of digital communications. Consequently, the uninterrupted operation of communications services is essential at any time.
As we have seen across Australia, with recent natural disasters including flood and bushfire, and as well as the Covid-19 pandemic, pressure and reliance on mobile communications networks have been at an all-time high. Mobile communication is often the only option during natural disasters such as fire and floods, or generally non planned or planned power outages.
Research firm Venture Insights points out that in south-east Australia’s 2019-20 bushfires, about 88% of the telecommunications outages were caused by loss of power outages and only 1% were due to direct fire damage, which implies that better power backups could significantly reduce outages.1
After more than 1000 mobile towers and other facilities were disabled as a result of bushfires last summer, the Commonwealth Government announced a $37.1m funding package to strengthen telco resilience, including $10m for the Mobile Blackspot Program and battery backup solutions.
Repairs to damaged power lines can take time, especially if many poles must be replaced. So, battery backup solutions are important for maintaining communications in times of disaster.
The key to a successful backup battery solution is an Uninterruptible Power supply (UPS), which is an on-demand, instant switch battery back-up.
While there are numerous UPS back up battery solutions available, lead-acid batteries are an established part of small-scale commercial back-up energy solutions. According to Venture Insights head of research David Kennedy, “More advanced battery technologies, including lithium-ion are now primed for rapid expansion – far beyond what legacy battery technologies could have hoped to achieve.
The future batteries such as zinc-air and lithium-air will help telco providers become more resilient in the event of an emergency at a fraction of the current cost.
“In the medium term, 5G small cells will present a new challenge with respect to power backup, as there will be a drastic increase in the number of locations where power will be required. Addressing this will raise issues around cost, deployment speed and visual pollution.”
Internet services also need battery backup, Venture Insights points out. Power outages at customer premises affect internet services. FTTP services can be protected with the optional backup battery, but HFC, FTTN and FTTC connections rely on the power supply to the premises. Furthermore, most connected equipment – Cel-Fi, Cellferno, IoT modems or routers, switches, IP phones, etc – requires a backup power supply if they are to be usable during power outages.
The rollout of 5G small cells will drastically increase the number of sites that will need backup power, and that raises cost and visual amenity issues.
“The bushfires, upcoming 5G small cells and backup requirements for NBN services mean that batteries will remain in focus in the foreseeable future”, added Kennedy.
For more information on uninterrupted power supplies or a complete end to end connectivity solution contact the team today [email protected] or 1300 769 378